Great Life Grain Free (Dry)


Rating: ★★★★½

Great Life Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.

The Great Life Grain Free product line includes 2 dry dog foods.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Important: Because many websites do not reliably specify which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are safe for large breed puppies, we do not include that data in this report. Be sure to check actual packaging for that information.

  • Great Life Grain Free Salmon Recipe [U]
  • Great Life Grain Free Chicken Recipe [U]

Great Life Grain Free Chicken Recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Great Life Grain Free Chicken Recipe

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 34% | Fat = 16% | Carbs = 42%

Ingredients: Chicken (dehydrated), chicken meal, lentils, peas, chickpeas, tapioca starch, navy beans, salmon oil, dried sweet potatoes, dicalcium phosphate, coconut flour, natural flavor, flaxseed, tomato pomace, alfalfa meal, calcium carbonate, choline chloride, salt, potassium chloride, freeze dried salmon, minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, sodium selenite, calcium iodate), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement), dandelion greens, dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulfate, green lipped mussel powder, pumpkin seeds, dried kelp, dried carrots, dried blueberries, dried spinach, dried kale, dried papaya, dried zucchini, turmeric

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis31%15%NA
Dry Matter Basis34%16%42%
Calorie Weighted Basis30%34%36%
Protein = 30% | Fat = 34% | Carbs = 36%

The first ingredient in this dog food is dehydrated chicken. Dehydrated chicken is considered a meat concentrate and contains more than four times as much protein as fresh chicken.

Plus (unlike chicken meal) dehydrated chicken is never exposed to high temperatures during processing, so it preserves more of the meat’s natural nutrients.

The second ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The third ingredient includes lentils. Lentils are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.

The fourth ingredient lists peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, both lentils and peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The fifth ingredient lists chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Like peas, bean and lentils, the chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (or pulse) family of vegetables.

However, chickpeas contain about 22% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The sixth ingredient is tapioca starch, a gluten-free, starchy carbohydrate extract made from the root of the cassava plant.

The seventh ingredient includes navy beans, legumes naturally high in dietary fiber and other healthy nutrients.

However, beans contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

It’s important to note that a number of ingredients included in this recipe are each a type of legume:

  • Lentils
  • Peas
  • Chickpeas
  • Beans

Although they’re a mixture of quality plant ingredients, there’s an important issue to consider here. And that’s the recipe design practice known as ingredient splitting.

If we were to combine all these individual items together and report them as one, that newer combination would likely occupy a significantly higher position on the list.

In addition, legumes contain about 25% protein, a factor that must also be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The eighth ingredient is salmon oil. Salmon oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.

Depending on its level of freshness and purity, salmon oil should be considered a commendable addition.

The ninth ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.

From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.

But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.

With six notable exceptions

First, we find coconut flour, a powder derived from dried, defatted coconut meat. This cereal grain replacement is high in fiber and low in digestible carbohydrates.

Next, we note the use of flaxseed, one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.

However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

In addition, tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.

Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.

Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.

Next, we also find alfalfa meal in this food. Although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

Additionally, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.

And lastly, this food contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

Great Life Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Great Life Grain Free Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.

But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 34%, a fat level of 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 41%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 34% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 42% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 45%.

Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the lentils, peas, chickpeas, navy beans, flaxseed and alfalfa meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a notable amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Great Life Grain Free is a plant-based dry dog food using a notable amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.

Highly recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

Great Life Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Advisor’s recall notification list.

Dog Food Coupons
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A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

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Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.

For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

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Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

06/26/2017 Last Update

  • Pet Professional

    Canine Caviar has a few diets that look superb.

  • kim safi

    got any advice of a good dog food without peas or potatoes? and priced reasonably ?

  • kim safi

    i was wonderng what was going on when i tried to buy it and its gone.. from everywhere!

  • Pet Professional

    The comments below at 7 months ago seem suspicious and generic, as if placed here by the new manufacturer ……call me a bit paranoid about this new company. Well, thank you Food Advisor for the list of ingredients. I see I will need to continue shopping and no longer carry this food. We once carried more Dr. E’s than any other food supplier in San Diego County.

  • Pet Professional

    I got a heads up from my distributor and bought up all the Dr E’s Buffalo that was left when notified by that distributor. But many people did not get a heads up about the food going out.

  • Pet Professional

    The destruction of a dependable food that we appreciated in the Dr. E’s line of Great Life has been a blow to us in 2017.
    NOW look at all those phytoestrogens in Great Life! I was just on a webinar with Dr. Dodds and she agreed that there are far too many phytoestrogens and GMOs in US kibble dog food today. GET THE PEAS, LENTILS, etc out of the pet foods in the USA! The soy was bad and everyone rejected that thank goodness. Now, let’s consider NON-GMO grains instead of the phytoestrogens? More meat, higher true quality and people will pay. Study by the NIH that phytoestrogens fed affect the endocrine system in dogs, but it is a preliminary finding only.
    So, I keep shopping for my clients that do not feed raw.
    No website, no phone number, no website except Facebook page for Great Life now……..
    “The endocrine system is the collection of glands of an organism that secrete hormones directly into the circulatory system to be carried towards distant target organs. In humans, the major endocrine glands include the pineal gland, pituitary gland, pancreas, ovaries, testes, thyroid gland, parathyroid gland, and adrenal glands. In vertebrates, the hypothalamus is the neural control center for all endocrine systems” Wikipedia……Do not feed peas to a dog with Addison’s disease. We helped a lady feeding a rescue with Addison’s disease and this was very important for the dog’s health and made me first aware of the problem with peas about 6 years ago.
    Now, where does one go to avoid peas? I hope to learn soon.

  • Veronika

    Essentially your feeding her the same food forever not a great idea, you should be rotating foods this allows your dog to actually thrive not just live on the food, lots of different meat proteins lots of different other ingredients, so when formulas change she doesn’t have any reaction to them. Think of it as eating a soup let’s say minestrone for your entire life every day, doesn’t sound very appetising or very much fun does it? I can only withstand maybe 5 day’s a week on the same food before it actually starts tasting really bad and I’m bored to death with it.

  • Mark

    We have a 12 year old, she has been on the chicken formula her entire life. We got a bag of the new formula last month, since then she has been alternating between diarrhea and very dry stool. All blood tests are good. We have to switch food.

  • Yolanda Lininger

    Unfortunately since this food line has been bought by Texas Mills the formula will change, see their website. It now contains Peas as one of the first 5 ingredients and flaxseed, which I choose to say away from. Why do these companies change and go the cheap route!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙁

  • InkedMarie

    Did you transition slowly back to the Great Life? If not, that’s the reason you ended up with diarrhea.

  • Repoleon 40

    My dog, with severe allergies, did well on the buffalo 2 years ago. We switched to another food for a while and last month I tried Great Life again, this time the fish formula. He had terrible diarrhea. I put him back on his old food and it he was ok. I tried giving the Great Life to my other non-sensitive dog to use it up. She also got diarrhea. Threw it out. Because he had done so well on the food before, I bought another bag, this time buffalo. Immediate diarrhea. It cleared up with rice and pumpkin. Tried again with rice and small amount of food, diarrhea returned. The food, which I got from Chewy has no expiration date and a Texas Mills sticker has been placed over original manufacturer. I wonder how long this food has been warehoused? I am now moving on to trying Nutro venison and sweet potato.

  • sandy

    Texas Mills now owns Great Life and South Star (formerly Pioneer Naturals).

  • Desiree Wright

    I have two dogs with skin issues, and we switched to Great life a couple of years ago. They are both doing very well and they absolutely love it!

  • Abby Miller

    The holistic lamb is perfect for my dog, he loves it and can’t get enough of it!

  • Kelly Garner

    Great for dogs with allergies, the grain free chicken works great well with my Bullie who is allergic to grain.

  • Jasper Martin

    I am feeding my allergy prone husky the grain free chicken for several months now. The fur loss is gone!

  • Jenny Wu

    Our dog eats this food so fast he’s like a vacuum! He loves it and always asks for more every time.

  • Emilia

    I am very happy with the grain free chicken, we have a golden retriever with a very sensitive stomach. We have been feeding this to him with absolutely no harsh side effects.

  • Aubrey Jackson

    It’s great food for my Great Danes! I have 2 of them, and they can’t get enough of the gran free lamb meal. I’m glad our local store is carrying this brand. I wouldn’t know what to do without it!

  • Chloe Hoffman

    Awesome product! I’ve been giving the grain free chicken to my dogs and they just love the taste. It’s great for their allergies to grain too!

  • Kathryn Thurman

    My dogs have been eating Great Life Grain Free Buffalo since mid-2014. We LOVE this food and highly recommend it. However, since December 05, 2016 both dogs have lost a little over 10% of their body weight eating exactly the same amount of food. The ingredients and analysis is exactly the same except it is missing all the enzymes from the food made by the previous owner. Both dogs had annuals and bloodwork done in January and are healthy. Has anyone else noticed this problem?

  • Hana Spitz

    SportDog copied pioneer naturals almost exactly. They have also copied some of natures farmacys supplements.. Not sure how they are getting away with it.

  • Rottweilers

    Hello , I too am a breeder of large breed dogs and use large quantities of kibble. I to am interested in “O” Where will you buy Orajen from ? Do they discount for breeders?

  • Vince Calcagno

    Hello , I too am a breeder of large breed dogs and use large quantities of kibble. I to am interested in “O” Where will you buy Orajen from ? Do they discount for breeders?

  • Pet Professional

    The Great Life Dr. E’s 30lb Buffalo just went up $10 a bag WHOLESALE with the new owners……….
    Wish there were a review of the Dr. E’s limited ingredient formulas here.

  • Matt

    Sportdog is same profile and excellent customer service

  • J putam

    You can buy it through but most of their bags dont even have dates on them of when it was actually made. : (

  • J putam

    This dog food company really sucks. THEY WERE BOUGHT OUT. They NEVER answer the phone! They Never have food when you want to order it. They will NOT sell to Breeders anymore at the discounted price. P N Makes my dogs so very gassy. My dogs are being put on Orijen foods and so is being referred to all our puppy clients too. Forget this company, they are the past!

  • sandy

    You might checkout SportDog brand. Some of the recipes are very similar.

  • caitlyn

    I came to this board to see if ANYONE knows whats going on with Great Life and Pioneer Naturals. I know the company was sold but the new company doesnt respond to emails, has no contact phone number, and no working website. My pet store told me they will not be honoring great life’s frequent buyer programs…(pfft! I’m right at my free bag…of course!). Will Dog Food Advisor be reviewing their diet soon for any changes? I bought one bag that was rancid and have suffered through 6 months of all the pet stores in my area being out of stock. (yes even chewy!) I went to their facebook page and I lost count of the complaints. Has anyone else experienced the same thing and what did you switch to if you have a dog with severe allergies. I am very saddened by this as I have been feeding this diet for years! There is literally nothing on the internet to tell loyal customers what is going on so I came here hoping to find some answers.

  • I bought it on Amazon.

  • Rasheeda Azar

    I have been very happy with this food. My boy is still dealing with some allergies which I am attributing to environmental, but he has been 85-90% better since he’s been on this food. My only issue is that he’s a bit of a finicky eater and he gets bored with the food. So either I rotate the flavors that Great Life has, or I mix in some canned food (Wellness 95% beef or Merrick 96% beef or duck both of these canned food DO NOT have peas, but I only use them as toppers). I really hope this food works for your dogs. Keep me posted!

  • chiapink

    am also dealing with two pups with horrific allergies, and i have found out what you have discovered, all of these dog foods contain peas, beans, lentils, all of which dogs are unable to assimilate as they, and us, lack the enzyme to digest these legumes! also over time these ingredients totally change the bowel environment and cause devastating health issues that cannot be reversed, am glad that we both found Great Life, have not given it to the two of them yet as I just ordered it on Here is the article: legumes in pet foods

  • Rasheeda Azar

    My 3 year old american bulldog has terrible skin allergies so I recently bought an online allergy test which tested for food allergies. There were several things my dog was allergic to but a couple things that stood out were peas and canola oil, both of which were in the food I was giving to him ( Natures Variety Instinct Grain Free Lamb Formula). After hours of research I found that 98% of the dry foods out there contain peas or pea protein and canola oil. By chance I stumbled upon Great Life and not only was I impressed by the ingredients, but finally found a food that didn’t contain peas! I slowly started him on Great Life Grain & Potato Free Salmon dry almost 4 weeks ago. So far so good. My boy hasn’t been itching or licking his paws, and his stool is hard as a rock which is great. I have read some past reviews on here which made me a little nervous but so far I am happy with this food and how my dog is doing on it. The only thing I wish they had was a canned food to mix in with the dry. From what I understand the manufacturer they were using for their canned food went belly up and they are searching for another canned food manufacturer. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that my dog continues to do well on this food. I’ve only had to switch foods 15x to get to this one! Lol!

  • JOSE is a bad man

  • swak

    Tricky Dicky

  • Kathryn

    I just recently started feeding Great Life to my three dogs (a Pomeranian (3 yrs), a corgi mix (5 yrs), and a husky (1.5 yrs)). My husky is very picky in what he eats. We had tried all of the varieties of taste of the wild, we tried orijen adult, we tried pure vita salmon, we tried biljac adult select (this he did eat for a little while but I wasn’t happy with its ratings), and a few of the varieties of solid gold. Until the switch, he was eating Nutrisource Chicken and Rice. This he would eat, but I really wanted to feed them a grain free food. He LOVES the Great Life Salmon to the point where after he finishes his dish, he goes to the other two to see if they have anything left (this is very new for him as usually he only nibbles throughout the day). They have only been on it for one week but so far there has been no noticeable difference in their stool’s (good or bad).

  • jeremy brown

    Yes, we have also seen small black hairs in it. Do you know if this is a problem?

  • Nicole

    Has anyone experienced small pieces of hair in this dry food?

  • Pattyvaughn

    The review is based on the guaranteed analysis and the ingredients list, which never tells the whole story. That’s why it is so important that people can bring their experiences here or post what they have learned or heard about a company. I don’t think this is a bad food, if the label tells the whole story, but I don’t trust the company, so I wouldn’t buy the food. They think that being able to put “No Recalls” on the bag is more important than keeping dogs safe, so when they had a problem with their food, they did not recall it, they just quietly removed it from shelves. That does nothing for the people who already bought it.

  • InkedMarie

    Reviews are done using ingredients and nutritional analysis. Soon, there will be an “editors choice” list coming out.

  • Food questions

    I am confused about this food. Is the consensus that the company who produces this food is untruthful? Does DFA still stand by their review that this is a five star food? Which foods are being manufactured by ethical companies? My older dog does well on Orijen, but my puppy is not doing well on Orijen. He has gas and messy stools. I am looking for a new food for him.

  • Scout’s Mom

    FYI – I think that Great Life’s problems go beyond just the buffalo variety of food. I recently purchased the largest size bag of the grain & potato free salmon for my Golden Retriever. As soon as he started eating food from this bag, he began to have loose stools. This was the 2nd bag I had bought and he seemed OK when eating the first bag. Once I switched him to a different food, he was fine. When I returned the food to the store, the owner told me another customer has a dog who refused to eat the salmon variety from the large bag. She gave him a small sample bag of the salmon and the dog would eat that. So, it seems there is a bad batch of the salmon variety food also.

  • Melissaandcrew

    Lol. Been there and someone else had to tell me.

  • Shawna

    Hi Denise,

    Poor Muffy!!!

    Megaesophogus can be caused by a food allergy/intolerance and due to “mega” being the issue in both illnesses I did a google search.. I didn’t find much research but found several anecdotal cases in people where going gluten free resolved their megacolon.

    There are other causes but as a precaution I think I would personally try a gluten free canned food. Solid Gold canned food has both barley and oats. Oats are technically not a gluten food but can become contaminated easily..

    “Megacolon associated with celiac sprue: report of four cases and review of the literature.”

    Vet Dr. Karen Becker recommends feeding a “species appropriate” diet (so high moisture, high protein and no grains). She also suggests adding digestive enzymes and probiotics to every meal. She also discusses some additional causes.

    I also read that a bacterium called C. Diff can cause megacolon. Another good reason to take a good quality probiotic.
    Hope little Muffin doesn’t have a repeat!!! Thanks for keeping us updated!!!!!!

  • Pattyvaughn

    Megacolon, huh? That’s not going to be easy on Muffin if it turns out to be chronic. We had a cat that came in to our office with megacolon. We had to treat her pretty regularly. I really hope this is a one time thing for Muffin!!


    HI SHAWNA!!!

    THANK U SO MUCH for taking time to post your concerned response about my Muffy!~ So i dont hv to repeat my comments plz read the above comment i posted to Patty so u can b updated on Muffy n everything else!! I will update u both further in the nxt 24-48hrs! You both have been so very nice & i appreciate all your comments n advice! GOD BLESS U & Your poochies!!
    Hugs Denise, Miss Muffin, Bear


    WOW THANK U PATTY (and SHAWNA!) for taking the time to respond about my little Muffy! BTW the Exact diagnosis was MEGA COLIN.Today she ate some of the canned RX food,n is peeing like crazy! probably due to all the IV Fluids and she hasnt really pooped yet,just some brownish fluid mucus type of drops in the bathroom(where we r keeping her for now) Shes been sleeping ALOT n thats also prob due to her pacing alot n squatting,,thinking she had to go poop for the past 2days. Only thing i AM CONCERNED about today is she hasnt drank any water…maybe its the IV fluids making her not thirsty YET…BUT `1ST thing tom i’m calling her own vet to inform him she was diagnosed me MEGA COLON n then calling GREAT LIFE,asking them to STOP my shipment n refund my $85 ASAP so i can afford 2 buy the Solid Gold for my 2yr Lab “Bear” n hope i dont have issues or I’ll tell them they will need to pay any medical bills for Muffy! I so appreciate your comments & advice & can see u Both r great mommy’s to your own poochies! Lets stay in touch if possible, will update this thread about Muffy,the GL refund & if i got the Solid Gold food 4 Bear & what canned food i decided on for Muffy!!

  • Melissaandcrew

    Its at the top of the page right side. Very tiny link and despite my efforts, the search did not work right. Scrolled through to discover nearest retailer was 4plus hrs away.

  • Pattyvaughn

    WOW! Poor Muffin! You may want to be very aware of the fiber level in her food in the future. Fiber helps retain moisture in the colon so dogs with these issues have a little extra moisture in the stool and an easier time passing those stools. I hope she is doing OK. It takes a couple days for the irritation to subside, but hopefully she will let you know very soon how much better she is feeling.

  • Shawna

    Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry for your puppy and your family!!! 🙁

    I imagine any 5 star canned food is a good option for Muffin.. I use a variety of canned — Merrick, Nature’s Variety, Earthborn, Weruva, Lotus (does have a little bit of rice in it) and others.

    I use Solid Gold Sea Meal too… Sometimes I feed it alone but most the time I mix it with other stuff like spirulina, additional enzymes etc. One of mine was born with kidney disease so I add extra stuff for her..

    You are right, there are many quality foods on the market now —- LOVE IT!! 🙂 When things are calmed down a bit and you have some free time, check out rotational feeding — Dr. Mike has a nice article on it. 🙂

    Really really hope Muffin is on the mend never to have to go through that again :(…


    THANX Shawna! I respect you for your courteous, NON RANTING comments about Great Life & i can see where u r coming from as well as some others who question the honesty.ethics etc of the company that owns Great Life,which now seems to be Pied Piper plant in Hamlin Tx(thats 7-8hrs from me i think) I have now decided that i am STOPPING feeding the kibble to my senior doxie Miss Muffin who got sick fri nite,vomited n wasnt pooping n we took her to the emerg hosp where they gave a exam & 2 enemas n still she didint poop the very hard stool which was up her & the dr said she was very constipated n prob dehydrated & had me give her a laxative at home & pumpkin with a TINY amnt of food & sat morn my hubby found she had pooped l 2 small loose amnts but at midnite last nite (Sat)she was still butt squatting,trying 2 poop with zero results n was not comfortable & my dghtr said lets go to the hosp & we did & xray showed she had a colon issue(cant recall the name) n she was NOT constipated but this colon was upset over both the enemas n exam AND the DENSITY of Great Life kibble was 2much for a SMALL DOXIE, although the tech admitted it was a very good food, but every food isnt good for every dog. She was dehydrated & thus given fluids etc n we took her home n shes sleeping now we’ll begin feeding her the rx diet can food i was sent home with just for 2-3days & will b informing my own vet about this incident with my Muffy n then i will change her food to a hi quality 5star CANNED food that is listed on this website(prob Natures Variety or Solid Gold,as i like both,any ideas?)
    Now as far as my 2yr big Lab mix who is healthy.loves Great Life etc…….i am a PRO ACTIVE Loving Mommy n have decided to stop feeding him Great Life also ONLY as a pre caution for any future possible issues but i STILL like this food for certain dogs.**So I will change him to one of the Solid Gold kibbles n their highly recommended SEA MEAL supplement..I found this food on comments made here n they were all i hope i dont get any comments saying i shouldnt change to it LOL! WAY 2 MANY “hi quality” new foods to choose from now as opposed to back in the 50’s-60’s when there was a handful of dog foods period…and our dogs rarely got sick back then Lol! THANX AGAIN sweetie! and to Most of the posters here who just wanna help! PS I sent Great Life a FB msg n will call on Monday!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I would call the company and ask. You can also order direct from the company – I used to feed Great Life and this is what I did – and I believe it’s also available on Petflow and Naturalk9supplies.

  • somebodysme

    Where can you find out who carries this food? I found no store locator at their website.

  • Shawna

    I posted the below about 10 months ago. The post includes links to the comments I spoke of above — hopefully they still work.

    “I used to recommend Great Life but some data came to light here on DFA back in February and I haven’t suggested Great Life since…

    Here’s were I officially withdrew my recommendations

    Here’s the info that made me withdraw my recommendation

    And here Dr. Mike confirms what Jack Jones had found

    This all doesn’t mean the food is bad in any way shape or form but it does make me question the ethics of the company..”

  • Shawna

    Hi Denise :),

    The ingredient list of the Great Life foods are definitely impressive but he total protein is a little low for my liking — not a deal breaker though.

    BUT, a little over a year ago a poster named Jack made a comment that got a lot of us regulars here on DFA thinking. Great Life was being made by Pied Piper back then (before it was bought by the way). Jack commented that Great Life’s label read fresh meats as part of the ingredients. BUT, Pied Piper didn’t use fresh meats in their products (Brother’s Complete and Nature’s Variety Instinct were also made by Pied Piper — and no fresh meats were used, only meals).

    Dr. Mike, owner of Dog Food Advisor, contacted Pied Piper and confirmed that they did not have refrigeration and therefore did not use fresh meats in any foods they made. SO, how could fresh meats be in the Great Life foods?? A few tried to contact the company and reported back that they were met with rudeness from the owner (same Dr. as you mention). I took it a step further and contacted Susan Thixton of The Truth About Pet Food website and Susan gave me the email address of a contact at the AAFCO. I contacted him and then he contacted a rep in the state where Great Life was made (or maybe it was owned — I still have the emails but they are on my work PC). Anyway, we never heard what happened but it did leave me gun shy about the product (so to speak :)…

    Five of my dogs primarily get raw food with a canned topper – bacteria is not a major concern of mine :). The other three dogs (technically foster dogs) eat high end kibbles. Like many of the regulars here on DFA I don’t think any one food is “perfect” and so myself, and many others, feed a rotational diet — different proteins AND different brands. My community has six (that I am aware of) high end boutiques that sell quality foods including raw. I have no shortage of good kibbles to choose from. I primarily feed foods like Orijen, Nature’s Variety Instinct, Earthborn Primitive Naturals etc. To that I add a high protein canned food and about a teaspoon to tablespoon of raw for variety and extra nutrition… Have you considered rotational feeding?

    I’m not opposed to trying Great Life but I really would like answers to the question/s Jack brought up before I would try the food….


    heres some new info on NEW LIFE/PIONEER PET FOODS***

    Pioneer Natural Pet Foods expands production capacities

    New ownership purchases Pied Piper facility in Hamlin, Texas, USA

    Release Date:
    Sunday, May 19, 2013

    Natural Pet Foods is offering a new resource for private-label
    co-packing, thanks to the purchase of the Pied Piper facility in Hamlin,
    Texas, USA, by new ownership.

    Pet Foods upgraded the 148,000-square-foot facility and expanded its
    capacity for dry kibble dog and cat foods as well as baked and extruded
    biscuits. The facility, with three production
    plants, recently scored a 97 percent for cleanliness, food safety, pest
    control and sanitation from auditing company Randolph and Associates.

    Learn more about the company’s capabilities by contacting them at +1.325.576.3300 (Hamlin facility- Dwayne Hunter) or +1.805.416.5034 (corporate office- Dr. Elliott Harvey).


    I HAVE MY DOGS ON THIS FOOD(oops sorry bout caps) n i think its one of the BEST food of all the premium foods out there. The owner of a top hi end dog store here in North Tx told me all about this food 2mnths ago n that a Vet bought the plant in Tx late last year(hes a very highly regarded vet!) Anyway the store owner drove 8hrs to pick up a bunch of the food cause they cant ship to our area yet. I bought the Venison n just ordered Whitefish/ My dogs are doing great n 1thing that is amazing is the stool is like nothing ever seen b4, it is smaller & firm & turns to ash when u squeeze it! so no smell, no mess ,the food is all digested! ANYWAY regarding this VOLUNTARY req for retailers to stop selling the Buffalo, their lab tests revealed no salmonella or anything else wrong with the food, just the odor from the freshness dating being wrong. I wasnt aware of this cheap machine part being broken etc etc etc & trust me i am not for companies lying but i did wanna state that almost EVERY dog food incl hi end exp foods have had recalls or issues at 1time, this food never had a FDA Recall ,ive never read any complaints about dogs getting sick (n EACH dog reacts diff to every food)& Dog ADvisor lists it as 5star food, if u research the ingredients n percentages compared to most foods it is a EXC Food! what amazes me is that foods like Iams n Science diet r still being touted n bought n they STILL contain Wheat G, Corn etc, n now even Inova/Evo has had over 2recalls this year! SO plz give this food a try ,if NOT Buffalo plz try Venison, Whitefish,Chicken,Lamb! Thanx for reading!

  • Pattyvaughn

    Brothers has their own little blog on their site called Bark Back Social Pages. You can find it with the FAQs and Brothers Document.

  • InkedMarie

    Patty, what is Bark Back?

  • Pattyvaughn

    I have best by dates on three.
    Fish is Aug 20, 13 and they are using up the last of it as we speak. Chicken is Jan 11, 14 and it should be almost gone too. Turkey is Oct 18, 14 and was just made. Beef, I just threw the bag away, because I only had about 3 lbs left, but it was just made too. The new foods have the best by dates at 18 months out.

  • Shawna


    Monkey had a valid point about the food not going through normal distribution channels. Does your bags have the production date on them? If so, that may put this concern to rest.

  • Shawna

    That’s a very valid point monkey… Even if it was made on the same equipment it would not have had time to go rancid (at least from my understanding of how the food is handled).

  • Pattyvaughn

    Orlando is the name of a city here. About the same size as Ft. Lauderdale, maybe a bit bigger since it is one of those cities that swallows up the cities around it, but 2-2 1/2 hours North of there. Much closer to me. It’s where Micky Mouse lives and all the other Fantasyland characters.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Right, so why go around trying to stir up trouble if you believe what GL says and GL says it is only the buffalo varieties. That implies to me that they know it is only that food because that food was made on different equipment or it is something else all together and they aren’t coming clean about it. Either way, Orlando C doesn’t care about the whole subject except as a possible way to stir up trouble.

  • Melissaandcrew

    If you recall-the same thing occured with NV beef/barley…and it was only that variety.

  • monkey

    The Brothers food from around that time is probably long gone anyway. It doesn’t go to a distribution center then to retail shelves.

  • Johnandchristo

    Trolls have very fat fingers, that might be the problem. But how many times does it take to sign in? Something is rotten and I don’t mean great life.

  • Pattyvaughn

    He can’t remember how to spell his name? The D and C keys are close together? I don’t know, but a troll by any other name is still a troll.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I’m a regular poster on both sites as well as a couple more. You just came out of the woodwork to specifically try to make trouble for Richard. We’ve seen your MO before.

  • Johnandchristo

    Hi Patty,

    Is it odd that the screen name is different? orlando- orlanco “c” ???

    Whats up with that?

  • Pattyvaughn

    So now you think Great Life was lying when they said that only the buffalo was involved?

  • Pattyvaughn

    You have proven yourself to be a troll.
    BTW, I have every flavor of Brothers Complete in my house right now. They are all fine.
    And so you know, I get email notification of EVERYTHING posted on Bark Back. I don’t have to go back and forth for it to be obvious what you are about.
    Different name, same old garbage.

  • orlando c

    No patty, only Richard can answer that and so far he is avoiding the question.

    Maybe you can run back and find out the answer for everyone.

  • orlanco c


    Looks like I’m not the only one running back and forth

  • orlando c

    Patty Vaughn

    Yes that was richards reply, to bad he didn’t answer the question I asked him;

    “I’m glad to know your foods are being made somewhere else now. When was the last batch made in Texas? If it is October 2012 or after then this problem with the preservative is going to affect your foods to.”

    Maybe richard is sidestepping the question because he has something to hide!

  • Pattyvaughn

    This was Richard’s reply to olando c

    @orlando c

    Hi Orlando

    What I was trying to get across to you is that just because someone tells you a story on the phone doesn’t make it true. I believe you are telling the truth – that you were told that story – but that doesn’t make the story true.

    Shawna’s post, about 12 hours ago on the Great Life tread on DFA, exposes the lie and reveals the truth – that Great Life has owned that plant since the Fall of 2012 which is BEFORE this “event” in the story took place. Apparently they didn’t just buy it as they claim.

    Another thing that makes their story improbable is that based on that story then every other batch of food made there for the last 5 to 6 months should be bad – so how is it that only their Buffalo is bad? Are we to believe that they have not produced ANY of their other formulas in their own plant since the Fall of 2012? Are any of their other formulas being recalled?

    The ONLY thing that I think you can rely on being true about this situation is that they have produced batches of Great Life Buffalo, in their own plant, after they bought and owned it, that have gone rancid and are being pulled from the shelves of stores and that they are doing it without officially calling it a “recall”.

  • Pattyvaughn

    And I suppose next you are going to tell us exactly which batch of Brothers was actually made in that time frame.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Exactly. And especially since Orlando C is going back and forth between here and the Brothers site working hard at stirring up something. Funny how it is only GL Buffalo that is affected, not GL anything else.

  • Shawna

    Seems a bit fishy to me too. I’m gonna have to side with Richard also. At least for now. If more data comes to light I will reconsider.

  • orlando c

    Hello Melissa

    Natures Variety Instinct had already left the plant when Great Life bought it. Brothers Complete was still being made in that plant in October of 2012 when this problem first began.

  • Shawna

    Beth Taylor has an awesome article on phosphorus as it relates to a home made diet but the data can be useful in evaluating kibbles as well I’m sure. The article can be found here

    Like HDM mentions, phosphorus (when in correct ratio to calcium) is not harmful to older dogs unless the dog already has kidney disease. Then phosphorus is lowered based on the stage of the disease and how the pup is handling phos.. My pup was born with kidney disease and seven years later I have not yet lowered phosphorus as she is still in the early stages of the disease (and eats a high protein raw diet – since weaning).

  • Hound Dog Mom

    How much phosphorus your dog should have will be dependent on the level of calcium. Calcium and phosphorus need to be present at between a 1:1 and 2:1 (C:P) ratio. So, for example, if the food contains 2% calcium the phosphorus level will have to be at least 1%, but no more than 2%. Dogs should eat a diet between 0.6% and 2.5% calcium (0.5% – 1.6% phosphorus). Phosphorus isn’t harmful to a healthy dog. Phosphorus can, however, be problematic for dogs with certain health conditions such as late stage kidney failure.

  • Suzette

    Is the high phosphorus level anything to be concerned about? I have read to stay under about 1.0 and these food are much more. I am especially worried about my older dogs.

  • Canthespam

    It never dawned on me that dogs could get hepatitis too. He suddenly started losing weight even though we started feeding him more, then one day he couldn’t keep anything down, diarrhea, stopped eating all together within a day or so. We were at our vacation home and had to call friends up there for the name of a good vet. We called and rushed him to the vet, Sunday emergency visit $$$$ and he was given and IV and the vet said that he was merely dehydrated. Never said what may have caused it. He was fine for a day and then it started again.

    Fortunately, the vet we saw was absolutely wonderful and felt bad that her partner had misdiagnosed him. She took tests etc.. and told us it was hepatitis. All this took a day or so. Medicine, change of diet etc.. and the symptoms slowly disappeared. His liver tests came back positive about 6 weeks later. We were able to stay up there for the entire time of his treatment, which was great because this vet is so much better than our regular vet at home. We trust her completely.

    He has been fine since, but he went from 12 lbs. to 9 lbs… a huge loose for a little dog. We were so afraid that we would lose him.

    Having lost a Shih Tzu years ago, due to sudden kidney failure, and then this liver thing, I watch Zebby very carefully and worry about him, probably needlessly, but you know how that goes with your animals.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I agree with “even the best vets seem to know very little about nutrition” – I (unfortunately) took my vet’s nutritional advice when I first got Gus (my now 8 year old male) which resulted in me feeding him Beneful for the first 3-4 years of his life. She told me Purina was “the best” food I could feed him.

    Certainly check with your vet – but as long as his liver is now normal I don’t see why he couldn’t eat a higher protein food. I’m not super familiar with hepatitis, but I know some liver conditions are some of the few instances in which a lower protein diet is preferable.

  • Canthespam

    As far as I know and I have no reason to suspect otherwise, his liver is fine. After the bout of hepatitis 3 years ago, his tests were finally normal. He has had absolutely no problems since – stools, vomiting, appetite, etc.. I am just a worry wart.

    I know that Orijen and Acana are both premium foods and I will do some research on the brands you mentioned, but they may be the way to start off – giving me more time to do research.

    Unfortunately even the best vets, seem to know very little about nutrition and pet stores like to push certain brands, leaving most of the decision up to the dog owners.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    No problem – I used to feed the same food every day as well. Then once you really think about it, rotating foods just makes sense. I mean, what living creature would, by choice, eat the same thing at every meal for its whole life and, no matter how high quality the food, how could that be healthy?

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Well then go with Acana if your dog has liver issues. There are plenty of decent foods you could try in the high 20’s/low 30’s range – Acana, Fromm Four-Star Grain-Free, Petcurean’s Now Fresh line, Natural Balance Alpha, Nutrisca, Holistic Select Grain-Free, Pinnacle Grain-Free, Pure Vita Grain-Free, etc. Just for some options to think about.

  • Canthespam

    I will probably go with Acana/Orijen, different main ingredient each switch .. meat, fish, lamb etc.. I’ll check out the other ingredients and make sure that they are not similar – complete switch monthly or whenever I use up the 5 lb. bag.

    Thanks for setting me straight.

  • Canthespam

    I’m wondering/worrying, maybe needlessly, about the higher protein. Whatever he ends up with will definitely be kibble.

    He’s 7.5 years old and very healthy, but after the hepatitis, I worry more about what he eats.

  • Canthespam

    I just found this site –

    and it backs up what you said. Off to the store to compare brands and ingredients within brands.

    He is such a good eater that even after 3 years on the buffalo, he drives me nuts in the morning and at dinner time until I feed him (no problem during the day or after he has eaten, so he is getting enough). Every single meal he gobbles down his food, absolutely no hesitation – so at least I know that he isn’t getting tired of it.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Maybe you can consider that just because a company that wants to sell you something, told you something, doesn’t make it true. Why haven’t they done the right thing and issued a recall?

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I have three bloodhounds – an 8 year old male (110 lbs.), a 2 year old female (68 lbs.) and a 10 month old female (75 lbs.). The two girls have never eaten kibble. They all eat a homemade raw diet now with something completely difference at each meal.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi canthespam –

    Switching after every bag (once a month in your case) would be perfect. When you first start rotational feeding you may find that your dogs need a gradual transition, but once they become accustomed to switching foods you should be able to go from one food right to the next – this is because feeding a variety of foods develops a diverse population of gut flora (healthy bacteria). My oldest dog (now 8) used to eat kibble and I switched to a new brand with a new protein source at the end of every bag (2 – 3 weeks). I did not transition and switched up canned food toppers (different protein sources, different brands) daily.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I’m glad Brothers moved. Richard still believes they(Greal Life) aren’t coming clean. And considering the backhanded way they are handling this, I’m more likely to believe Richard.

  • Canthespam

    For various reasons I do switch foods every 2-3 years. My 12 lb. Shih Tzu is a very good eater, not the least bit picky and he loves the buffalo. I always figure that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    About 3 years ago, he had been on Primal Raw duck for about 3 years and was thriving. He got somehow got hepatitis and after he was well, my vet told me to stay with lower protein foods for his liver. She said that I could still feed the raw duck, but she wasn’t sure how he got the hepatitis, whether it was from the duck or something he picked up on the street – so I decided to go with kibble again and after a lot of research, went with the buffalo. The buffalo is 30% protein and the Acana is 33% I think and Orijen is 38% or maybe higher.

    A 5 lb. bag should last for over a month, so from what you are saying, I would be switching every month. Do you do it gradually 10 days or so, or just go directly from Acana to Orijen? Zebby is very healthy, stools excellent, no gas etc… and I would hate to mess around with that.

    No one has ever told me to switch foods periodically. What breed and size is your dog? What do you feed now?

    I prefer kibble, as the frozen food is difficult at times because we take road trips with him and have no access to a freezer.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Canthespam –

    Why wouldn’t you want to switch foods? Feeding the same brand for long periods of time is very unhealthy for your dogs (it weakens the gut, doesn’t provide any variety and leaves your dog susceptible to the shortcomings of the food you’re feeding – and every food has shortcomings). Acana is a wonderful food, although I do prefer Orijen and feel it’s a better quality food. When I used to feed kibble I used both in my rotation. I wouldn’t worry about the protein levels in Orijen, kibble (even Orijen) is all very low in protein relative to what a dog should be eating – high levels of protein will not harm a dog. My dogs eat between 45% and 55% protein at each meal.

  • orlando c

    Patty Vaughn

    Maybe in the future instead of just repeating what someone else has said you could verify the facts for yourself. This way you don’t spread false information.

  • Melissaandcrew

    Wow…if it was a broken piece of equipment I would be concerned if other brands made there were affected.

  • Pattyvaughn

    What a bummer!! I wonder if they will do a proper recall, or if they are hoping no one will notice.

  • orlando c


    The story is true. I called Great Life and spoke to their customer service representative,Tanya. She told me the problem is in the preservative, it was not mixed into the food properly and foods are going rancid after 2 – 3 months instead of 1 year. She said the problem started in October of last year. Foods made in October started smelling bad in December.

    She also told me that anyone who bought any of the buffalo grain free since October 2012 should IMMEDIATELY throw it away and the retailer will give you a credit for your purchase.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Richard believes this is a hoax because the preservative would be mixed into the slurry, so the whole slurry would not have been mixed for this to be accurate.

  • Shawna

    No, I’m right… Hound Dog Mom posted the data on the Brothers thread.

    “October 2012:
    “We have had the great opportunity to buy our own pet food manufacturing facility, now called Pioneer Naturals Pet Foods – consisting of 3 plants and a biscuit production facility in Hamlin, Texas. This allows for greater control on all aspects of our pet food, from ingredient purchase to finished product. This will help us ensure our quality control and maintain our reputation as a company that has never had a pet food recall.”

    I used to feed Great Life to Gus years ago and I always really liked it, I thought it was one of the best kibbles out there. Recently I’ve heard of some quality concerns so I’m hoping now that they own their own facility there won’t be any more issues.”

  • Shawna

    I’m confused here?? I thought Great Life bought and now owns that factory. If that is the case than Great Life owns the factory that cut corners.

  • Pattyvaughn

    The preservative should be mixed into the slurry and so should not be any less mixed than any other ingredient that went into the slurry. In other words, unless you have seen some evidence that this story is true, it may be just that, a story.

  • Storm’s Mom

    Horizon Legacy is a great food.. I’ve only feed the Fish formula because my guy is allergic to chicken (I’d feed the chicken as well if I could), but the Fish formula is definitely one of the best I’ve come across. My guy loved it and he did really well on it – great coat, and minimal, firm poop. I rotate amongst a bunch of brands and proteins, but the Horizon Fish is one I am keeping in the rotation.

  • Pattyvaughn

    It looks like they just pulled this food off the shelves to avoid a recall. You might want to check into it or take it back.

  • Canthespam

    I would rather have a root canal than research a new dog food 🙁 I was sooo happy with Great Life. Since I am not that familiar with Arcana – what and when is different about their new formula and have many dogs had problems with it?

    Since I returned my bag of buffalo, I went online and tried to get a copy of the ingredients to use in my search … lo and behold – they have pulled it from their site too and I guess won’t be making it again until they straighten out their new factory. If I knew when that would happen, I I MIGHT be tempted to go back to it??????

  • Ru’s mom

    Oh that is terrible…I am getting a refund from Pet Flow..( they were very nice!) but since I was just getting ready to open the Buffalo I needed to rush out and get another bag of “something” local. I went with Great Life. But Salmon this time. I plan to switch companies..not sure to who. We have done well with Great Life, but as I said when they have “no recalls..ever” as their trademark makes me very nervous. They would go to some great lengths to cover problems. That is a LOT of expense to change all of their ad materials to “Only an occasional recall” just sayin. They did not bother to call me back or responds to a note I left on their facebook page. nothing derogatory… just trying to get info. hmmmm, this was probably my last bag.
    Acana does not work for us anymore since they changed formulation. I will be researching a high quality grain free these next few weeks. I brought samples of “Legacy” home, but need to research and also hate paying that price for chicken. That is something I do cook for my GSP at home. I also dont like her getting chicken so often. Good luck to you. anybody have thoughts on Legacy?

  • Canthespam

    I’ve been feeding the grain free buffalo for over 3 years, with excellent results. The last bag I bought absolutely reeked – it had a horrible rancid smell. My dog is a good eater and ate it, but the smell nauseated me. I called Great Life yesterday and they said that they had just discovered a problem with the factory in Texas that had been making it for them. Apparently a $45 part broke, the part that distributed the natural preservatives. The factory was having financial problems and rather than fix it, the preservatives were merely thrown by hand into the kibble and was not mixed in properly. Rather than a one year shelf life, this caused it to turn rancid in 2-3 months. Not every bag was effected. The factory went bankrupt in November and Great Life purchased it as of March of this year. They also found that the factory owners were using cheaper ingredients – not what Great Life was paying them to use.

    Great Life claims that they discovered this by as they opened random bags of their food. The immediately sent some to the lab and found that that these rancid batches did not contain any e-coli or bacteria (I’m not familiar with the terms) and that it was safe to eat. That’s why they pulled it from their stores. As of this morning some stores had not been notified and it was still on their shelves. Would you eat rancid food???? NO, so how can you feed it to your dog!

    They claim that it is not a RECALL as they did it voluntarily as soon as they found out about the problem and were not instructed to do so. Taking it off the shelves on their own because of a problem, to me at least, is still like a recall. They just don’t want that word on their record!

    They told me that none of the other kibble was involved, just the buffalo as they are produced on a separate line. I didn’t think to ask at the time, but if they used cheaper (inferior) ingredients in the buffalo, why would they not use them in all of the products???? Makes sense to me.

    I exchanged my stinky bag of buffalo for a bag of grain free chicken and have been feeding that since yesterday. But.. the more I think about it, the chicken which expires in Oct. 2013 – was made in Oct. 2012 – so I’m thinking that it too has the cheaper ingredients, not what I am paying for and not what I thought I was feeding my little guy.

    So, I think I am going to switch to Acana no grain kibble in the next few days. I haven’t decided on chicken, meat or fish yet.

    Are any of you feeding grain free Acana? I have a 12 pound, 7.5 year old Shih Tzu in good health – no food allergies… I would love some feedback on Acana.

  • Ru’s mom

    they have “pulled” the Buffalo from suppliers and store shelf for precautionary measures. (as of yesterday) I worry a little when a company has “no recalls ever” as their trademark. Maybe when an item should be recalled it wont be? that is a lot to lose! Problem is with product going smelling rancid before expiration date.. anyone having trouble? pet store said they are having trouble with buffalo, they did another secret pull recently. I dont know what that means.. doesnt sound good. I will be looking to switch again. so tired of these recalls! used to feed Acana.. but when they reformulated my dog had digestive issues.

  • Michele T.

    Thanks. She does get a probiotic regularly but I will add pumpkin in as well. Seriously thinking about just going back to raw – she didn’t have this many issues when she ate raw!

  • Pattyvaughn

    That is fairly common for a big change in quality. Her body does not know how to handle to new food and it will take some time for her to adjust. Try giving her a tablespoon of pure canned pumpkin with every meal for a couple weeks. And if you can, it would help her greatly to get a digestive supplement for the same time frame, something that has probiotics and enzymes. Human ones from the health food store are fine. That will help her adjust more quickly and easily.

  • Michele T.

    I recently switched my GSD, who has yeast allergies, to Great Life Grain and Potato Free Buffalo and now she is having some serious bowel issues. First her poop was rock hard, then it was runny and now it’s a combination of the two. This evening she pooped and my husband saw that it was rock hard again, then just a little bit ago she had a “watery” accident in the house. Could it really be this food doing all this to her?

  • Hi Karen – Sorry the Brothers site is still shut down but you can contact me directly at richardd9229 if you have any questions.

  • Karen L

    Richard & Mike, Thank you for all the great information and discussions. My dogs are on their 2nd bag of Great Life and it will be their last. I’m going to find out more about Brother’s fish protein and think that may be the best choice for my girls. Many thanks!

  • RobC

    I tried Great Life Grain Free food (Buffalo) for 4 out of my 5 dogs..had them on it a month or two..and I noticed that when I cleaned up the yard their poop was white as chalk! One of the main reasons I got this food was due to a reasonable ash content (my 5th dog needs lower ash food). I did some research and the consensus is that white poop is due to high mineral/ash content in food. So, it must have been REALLY high to look like sticks of chalk…which made me lose faith in the accuracy of the labeling and overall quality of the product. Now they are eating Orijen…

  • tshoe

    This Buffalo grain free great life is the only dry kibble my boxer with severe allergies can eat at this time. She has been on everything, including raw from new zealand. I use this and canned food now, once she starts scratching from consuming theses same ingredients then I will rotate her again. She did great on natures logic the beef dry kibble for about nine months. Keep in mind I always give her half canned and steamed green leafy veggies when possible.

  • rbwags

    My dogs have gone through a few large bags of the Great Life dry food. We were in the middle of a bag of the Salmon when I noticed hair or fur in much of the food. It’s not loose in the bag – it’s in the food. I took the bag back to the store where I purchased it and they were surprised to see it too. They were going to contact the manufacture. But I have heard such great things about this brand. Curious – has anyone else experienced this with this brand??

  • Wow… you’re not kidding.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I just read his “activity”  Kinda makes me want to puke.

  • Say what?

  • Pattyvaughn

    Really, when did this happen?  He sounded fine when I spoke with him on the phone.  I wouldn’t want to be their neighbor, but their food is always fresh.  You can’t hide that fact very well with raw meat.



  • guest

     We feed our lab Great Life Buffalo or Lamb until I recently found a one and a half inch metal bolt in the bag!
    I scooped out the food and spotted it just before giving it to my lab who would have swallowed it I’m sure (he is a lab).  I have written to the company but no reply yet. 
    I’m now looking for a new food.

  • sharron

    i just a bought a trial size bag of this food (salmon) – is this a decent food for a chihuahua
    have tried:
    acana regional – doesn’t like it
    orijen – makes her sick
    royal canin chihuahua – licks and chews her paws, legs and everything else
    canned food – anal gland issues
    raw – upsets her stomach


  • Redr

    It is a good choice if you don’t mind risking your dog’s kidneys from the high mineral content. An adult dog should not consume a food with phosphorous much above 1%.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Nature’s Variety Instinct would be a great alternative to the Great Life – grain and potato free as well and also coated in freeze-dried raw.

  • ohnoesaz

    Thanks for the feedback. I’ve been slacking in my anti-potato stance and mixing Acana in with GL/THK dehydrated/freeze dried foods. One of my sevens dogs has developed an ear yeasty-ness during this time. Ew. So I’m moving back to potato-free kibbles. Given the amount of options we now have, I don’t think I’ll take a chance on Great Life kibble just yet, at least until we start to get more feedback. I’m always googling for discussions about it and there just aren’t enough consistent happy reports yet.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi ohnoesaz –

    It’s been almost two years since any of my dogs have eaten kibble, but when I was last feeding kibble I was feeding a rotation of several 5 star grain-free kibbles. The three I used most often and that I felt my dog did best on were Great Life, Orijen and Nature’s Variety Instinct. With that said, recently I’ve heard a lot of negative things about Great Life, quality issues and such. If you read through the posts here you’ll find some of the concerns. I know when I used to feed it I felt it was a great product and my dog did well on it, but I’m a little hesitant to recommend it now. I’m wondering if they’ve got their quality issues under control.

  • Budgirlie76

    I feed the Greatlife Buffalo Grain free kibble mixed with the Orijen Regional Red Meat variety, and my 2 Chinese Shar-Pei do WONDERFUL on it !!!!  What are you currently feeding, and what kind of kiddos do you have ??

  • ohnoesaz

    There hasn’t been much talk here about anyone feeding Great Life recently. Are any DFA’ers still feeding it and can recommend it?

  • Bplymette

    Have you tried Earthbound Holistic Grain free Meadowfeast dog food. it cost less than 60 for 28 lbs

  • Lorenucia

    Here is a link to an article on conventional dog food by Dr. Karen Becker, a holistic vet:

  • Lorenucia

    I’ve switched to Stella and Chewey’s Freeze Dried Food.  It’s filled with organic vegetables.  I’m using the lamb right now.  It’s raw, but they have a special process patent pending that eliminates pathogens.  Like any new food, you must introduce it slowly.  Maybe just one patty with the required water to start out.  My dogs love it.  Dr. Karen Becker advocates a raw diet for dogs. 

  • Nutrisource Grain Free is about $51 for 30 lb.

  • It also starts with meat and a meat meal. And if you do the calculations it does come out to be around 30% carbohydrate.

  • monkey

    BryanV21, i doubt the Zignature is “high meat”. Peas, chickpeas, pea protein. I’m not anti-Zignature but i wouldn’t consider it high meat.

    Desperate Doggie Mommy, if you go with Zignature and it is within your price range but can’t find it locally. has it with free shipping.

  • Due to it being grain-free and potato-free, as well being a high meat/low carb food, I’d recommend Zignature. We charge $55 for a 27lb bag, and it comes in Turkey, Lamb, and Trout/Herring.

    Coconut Oil is a great thing to add to a dog’s food, as it’s got anti-viral and anti-fungal properties, to help fight against the infection. You can either feed it to your dog like a treat, a food topper, or you can use it topically and apply it right to a sore… like you would Neosporin.

    There are other good foods in your price range, but the ones I know of have potatoes in them. Not a ton, so it may not be an issue, but if you can get a potato-free food then why not?

    Good luck

  • desperate doggie mommy

    Since I see there are a lot of comments here, and since I don’t think there is a way to message anyone here, I’m hoping someone will come back to this thread and read this. 

    I have three dogs.  One (a 9 year old Cattle dog/pit mix) has a potato allergy.  At least, I believe he does..he gets yeast infections the ears and licks his paws.  The second dog (a Pit) has severe skin allergies which cause him to itch uncontrollably and then he gets ear infections too. I have no idea what he is allergic to though.  The third, a Weimerainer mix, has no known allergies or symptoms. 

    I first went to the vet, only to discover it was a terrible idea because they only recommend that Science Diet crap.  Not knowing where to go from there, I started cooking my dogs food at home.  However, the pit really likes kibble..he wasn’t a big fan of “mushy” oatmeal, meat, and veggies…he would just pick out the meat.  That and I go to school full time, work full time, and have a baby now so I dont have time to cook up large batches of food for the boys.  
    I have tried many different dog foods.  We tried Taste of the Wild, none of the different flavors helped. I tried Nutrisca, which helped the first dog but not the second.  I’ve tried Born Free, Canidae, etc…all with no results.

    I don’t know where to go next.  Money is a huge issue, right now, we spend about a hundred a month on dog food and that’s really all we can afford. A 30 lb bag lasts us a little over 2 weeks so I’m looking to spend at most 60 per 30lbs!

    If anyone reads this and has ANY advice, please email me at 
    [email protected] 

  • InkedMarie

    No, you get one but when I asked for an extra in a different order, they sent me one

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Yep, I got the white container. Thanks for the tip!

  • Pattyvaughn

    Just got my trial of Darwin’s too.  I was wondering why they sent an empty container.  Will they send another with every order?  It came frozen solid.  I was suitably impressed.  They even have a program for sending back shipping containers.  However it’s on hold now because they are changing their containers somehow.

  • InkedMarie

    just make sure you thaw it in either the white container it comes with (assuming they still do that) or something else or you’ll have a mess in the fridge!

  • Alexandra


    Hope you enjoy the Darwin’s. My third shipment arrived today, they love it. Today’s is the first all organic one after the discussion on the Darwin’s thread. So they got some of the buffalo in addition to the other proteins. For a newbie to raw, it takes the guess work out for me. 🙂

    My freezer is full of tripe, Darwin’s and various grinds from hare today. :-). They also get Brothers on the days when I forget to thaw stuff out. So they never know what is in their bowl.

    Can’t wait to hear what your trial results are!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Haven’t fed it yet (waiting for the Abady’s to arrive) but I can say that I was VERY impressed with how the product arrived. It was rock solid. Most products I’ve ordered online have had some minor thawing by the time they arrive. Actually when I grabbed into the cooler to take out the food I didn’t realize there was a block of raw ice in with the food and I accidentally grabbed the dry ice…did not feel so good. I also like the pouch idea for the packaging, stores nicely in the freezer.

  • InkedMarie

    So glad I feed Darwins, it always looks good!

  • Shawna

    I think that is because most of the studies, from my understanding, are done based around increasing “shelf life” of human products.  Since humans cook raw meats (for the most part) industry probably isn’t interested in spending the funds to test on those — my guess at least.. 

    I’m not sure how a one lipid could be increased without decreasing another in a product with an already set amount of lipids??  Do you have any insight on how that works?

    Edit — LOL… Yeah, I’m getting a bit ummmm “foggy”..

  • Melissaandcrew

    Scratch that .I think I had better re read this stuff tomorrow when I have not consumed multiple allergy pills, lol. 

  • Melissaandcrew

    An increase in one thing such as the omega 9 does not necessarily equate to a decrease in something else. Interesting that there do not seem to be many(I have not found any yet) studies on chicken, beef, venison etc. The first one was on liquids, the second on fish, and I honestly do not ever recall seeing a frozen HPP fish product for dogs.

  • Shawna

    This one talks about enzyme deactivation however it states that lipid oxidation is “stabalized”…  Doesn’t say WHICH lipids however..  UGHHHH

    It’s just too new technology with too many variables for my comfort level — I’ll give it 15 or 20 years and see how I feel then :).

  • Melissaandcrew

    okay..just read the link(had problems getting it to come up) It stated that there was a vitamin E increase, mainly due to  an increase in a-tocopheral. Perhaps I am missing something here, lol, but if the tocopherals increased that should be good, no?

  • Shawna

    In this testing done on fish, Omega 3 fatty acids were oxidized.  That is NOT good..  🙁

  • Melissaandcrew

      Vitamin E actually increased in level but in alpha tocopheral.

    Gotcha now..there should be a NOT in front of alpha tocopheral  : )

  • Shawna

    Yeah, E increase would be good but only if not at the expense of tocotrienols.  Vitamin D2 and D3 had “nonsignificant changes”.  Fats were changed at different pressures —- well here, here’s the link 🙂

  • Melissaandcrew

     So, the vitamin E increased, which would seem to be a good thing..Did the Vitamin D and fatty acids change for the better or worse? I just tried googling, and struck out : 0

  • Shawna

    Yeah, “tacky” is a good description 🙂

    In all fairness, I don’t have an issue with HPP products on the market or with people using them..  I’m just fearful that they are a gateway to industry doing away with “real” raw.  And that would be a shame!!!

    I did a quick search since it’s been several years since I researched this in depth—-they ARE finding some changes in nutrient content of HPP foods now..  Vitamin E actually increased in level but in alpha tocopheral..  However it is one of the tocotrienols that is the true cancer fighter.  Vitamin D as well as fatty acids were affected too..

  • Melissaandcrew

     No, its not like looking at fresh meat, lol, but I have never noticed “rubbery”- a bit on the “tacky side” though!

  • Shawna

    We each have to walk our own roads and I certainly wouldn’t suggest someone not feed “raw” if they feel more comfortable with HPP.

    BUT, I wouldn’t FOR ANYTHING feed my “immune compromised” dog HPP products regularly..  There are healthier options like Darwins with ACV..  Immune compromised dogs are the ones that need raw the very most… 

    I’m getting off my soapbox now :)..  Again, I understand we each have to do what is the very best for our situation but knowing what I know about raw and nutrition —– I won’t cave.. 🙂

  • Shawna

    NV has a “rubbery” texture to it..  Sure doesn’t compare to fresh meat at all. 

    Aunt Jeni’s website has a picture demonstrating the difference in color between raw and HPP meats (at varying degrees of pressure if I remember correctly).

    Answers raw food has some good info on why to avoid HPP products as well..  Jacqueline Hill, VP of Answers came from NV. 

    I’d link to the above but my dumb laptop is getting a run time error when I pull up certain sites..  grrrrr

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Yeah that was the point I was trying to make about HPP “raw.” I have healthy dogs so bacteria isn’t a concern to me and I’m also not someone who believes a healthy dog can get sick from the bacteria in raw or someone who is concerned with what my vet thinks about what I’m feeding. For this reason I choose not to feed or recommend HPP foods. However, HPP foods can open a door for individuals like you who have immune compromised dogs, individuals who are scared their dog could get sick from raw or individuals who aren’t comfortable going against their vet’s advice. I know my vet is strongly against raw (real raw) but does feel HPP is acceptable. So HPP does allow for some vets who would otherwise never recommend raw to recommend “raw” to their clients, many people out there follow their vet’s advice when it comes to nutrition.

  • Shawna

    I agree with you 100% on the puppy food — that was kinda my point.  As well as — the “old” Nature’s Variety would have released the puppy food in the Instinct line (since puppies need more protein then adult dogs).  They were more ethical back then in my opinion… 

    NV was family owned.  Now they are owned by an investment group.  Investment groups have shareholders and their main objective is to make their shareholders money..  Because of this I think they cut corners that the old NV never would have. 

    Rather then changing the market I think that veterinary and consumer education is more important. Raw honey, garlic, apple cider vinegar etc are all nutritous foods that could be added to raw foods that effectively kill pathogens.  Darwins and Answers use ACV etc..  HPP in my opinion is a sell out..  If it ever gets to the point where HPP is the only thing offered, I will no longer purchase nor recommend commercial..  Just me though..

    Dr. Martin Goldstein recommends raw for his cancer patients — non-HPP raw (at least at the time he wrote his book). 

    Edit — at the time I have the conversation with Sandy Goodman of S&C, certain organisms were already becoming resistant to HPP.

  • InkedMarie

    Wow, I missed those posts. Not very ethical

  • Melissaandcrew

    Interesting about the Primal. I have never used it, mostly using the NV. I know the NV varies in color from time to time, but there has never been a “rind” on any of it. Before defrosting, the medallions have a tendency from what I have noticed(and the bites) to have a greyer color,(but not bad) but once defrosted it pinks up..

  • Melissaandcrew

    If it were not for HPP “raw foods” I never would have given anything like it to my cancer dog. While bacteria could still have been a problem, I felt ‘safer” being able to choose that option over other raw foods.

    As for the “puppy food”. Unfortunately there are many people hell bent on using something labeled as “puppy”, and without that specification, they just will not buy it. Its just something that is ingrained in humans, lol. You feed infants formula, you feed puppies(or kittens) puppy or kitten food. I would much rather see a new owner pick up a bag of Prairie labeled as “puppy” then a big old bag of Puppy chow : ) I think the ALS designation is not as commonly understood as we would think.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I definitely agree with what you’re saying about HPP. 🙂

    I don’t like HPP at all. However I really feel that HPP is what the commercial raw industry is coming to. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if some sort of law gets passed that foods intended for consumption by animals have to be cooked or HPP. I know I ordered a variety pack of the Primal mixes (I got free shipping with the variety pack so I did it, normally I only order the non-HPP) and the chicken and turkey were gray and when I sliced the roll they didn’t mash up…there was like a rind almost on the outside. The non-HPP varieties (buffalo, lamb, beef, sardine) were nice and pink with no rind..

    You may be right about the quality as well, concerning the fat. I know for me to get the fat level I like instead of using lower quality cuts, I add eggs, full fat cottage cheese, full fat goat’s milk, coconut oil, leave the skin on the RMBs, etc. Although as far as buffalo goes I don’t think it’s necessarily lean. The ground buffalo sold at my grocery store (hormone, antibiotic, steroid free…$9/lb.) has 64% of the calories from fat – 18 g. fat, 252 calories (162 from fat) per 4 oz. That’s way more fat than extra lean ground beef.

  • Shawna

    PS — if venison and bison are lean meats then where is all the fat coming from?  Darwins bison is 13% protein and 6% fat and they include tongue which is a high fat meat..  NV raw bison is 11.5% protein and 10% fat — with no tongue or other parts that would be higher in fat.  This, to me, implies lower quality cuts of meat.

    You mentioned before that you like giving your pups higher fat foods..  But again, less educated puppy parents are feeding their pets these higher fat foods (especially the freeze dried foods) and likely causing protein malnutrition.  I know toy breed feeders that feed these foods..

    I know I need to get off my soapbox and look at the bigger picture sometimes.  But, I want the world to be perfect gosh darn it :)…..

  • Shawna

    If I hadn’t been an early user of the food I probably wouldn’t have the issues with it that I do.. 🙂

    Also, I WON’T settle for HPP for ANY reason. If we settle then it will be even easier for truly raw foods to get forced out.  Additionally, foods can be high pressure pasturized at different pressures and lengths of time…..which can actually “cook” the food.  If we get lax, the next thing we could see is all “raw” foods are technically hpp cooked.  Some, current, hpp raw foods don’t even look raw.  The hemi in a certain layer gets damaged causing the meat to turn grey.  They say this doesn’t affect the nutrient content of the food but they said that about pasturization of milk too.  In 10 or 15 years are we going to find out that HPP isn’t as benign as they make it out to be?? 

    I still didn’t word that correctly…sigh 🙂  Been a long and sleepless week..  That was my point, that the puppy foods weren’t introduced into the Instinct line when we know that puppies need more protein..  So they are catching uneducated persons thinking they need “puppy food” and getting pup started on a grain based, lower protein food…  The company used to have ethics…

  • InkedMarie

    I agree, Toxed!  I was a little worried about Boone eating the Brothers Allergy because it has chicken fat, chicken something else and flaxseed but he’s been fine, been over a month, I probably would have noticed an issue by now, knock on wood.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    bsell –

    There is no difference between foods labeled “puppy” or “growth” and a food labeled all life stages. The AAFCO recognized two nutrient profiles – growth and maintenance. If a food meets the stricter requirements for growth, the company can choose to label it as “all life stages” making it appeal to a broader audience (puppies, adults, seniors).

    I think the Canine Caviar and Earthborn are good choices. Horizon and Brother’s are both excellent as well, but the calcium levels are a little too high for a large breed puppy (in my opinion).

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Shawna –

    Now I understand what you’re saying. I have noticed some new products introduced recently that seem more “markety” than anything (like the puppy prairie formulas and the raw boost). However, the puppy formulas weren’t introduced in the Instinct line so I personally don’t feel that they’re pulling people away from the Instinct foods. There haven’t been any changes made to the Instinct line that I find disconcerting so I’ll continue to recommend the Instinct food and I know if I were to ever go back to kibble it would definitely be in my rotation.

    As far as the raw, I don’t like the HPP by any means. However, unfortunately, I feel that due to a lot of recent events (the AVMA warning…) this is the direction a lot of commercial raw foods will be going in (makes me glad I make my own!). But just to put a different perspective on HPP, while I don’t like it and would never feed it to my animals or recommend it, I do feel that it will open up “raw” foods to people that otherwise may have never fed them. Many vets that are opposed to raw will recommend HPP raw to clients (my vet does this). If HPP allows some people that would otherwise be too scared to feed raw to get off kibble then at least it’s an improvement. I feed HPP isn’t as good as non-HPP ut it is still a huge step up from kibble. Concerning the fat content of the buffalo and venison – the protein/fat levels are actually right on par with what I’d feed my crew. I can see where some may prefer lower fat, but my crew thrives on higher fat food. For me as long as the fat level is below the protein level it’s fine. I tend to try and keep fat at least 35%, but I never let it get higher than protein. I don’t think it’s a horrible thing.

  • bsell

    HDM, great document!  Thanks.  I think we are going to do the Canine Caviar and maybe rotate in the Earthborn Hollistic.  I can’t find the calcium content on the Horizon.  The Fromm’s and and the Brothers look like excellent quality, but a little too “rich” (price) for our budget.

    Some of the other posters bring up a question: what is the difference between a puppy food (whether it is large breed or otherwise) vs. an ALS?

  • Shawna

    Sorry HDM, didn’t word that well..

    Prior to Catterton Investment Group taking over NV, they had their Instinct Line and Prairie Line (both of which are all life stages).  After Catterton, they introduced the puppy foods.  This to me, is nothing more then marketing and it irritated/irritates me that they are (in my opinion) tricking less knowledgable people by making a puppy food with lower protein then an all life stage food currently in their product line (aka Instinct).  Others can disagree but this REALLY irritates me..We KNOW that puppies need more protein (probably LOTS more) then adults but they introduce the food in their lower protein line…??

    They started using high pressure pasturization on their raw/freeze dried foods. 

    They introduced their raw bison and venison both being too high in fat (espcially the bison).  Both are LEAN meats???

    Three of their top people left them.  None of them said anything bad about NV but all made it quite clear that they were glad they were outta there — Sandy Goodman at Stella & Chewy’s, Jacqueline Hill at Answers and Scott at Nature’s Logic.  You don’t lose people like that over nothing??

    NV was the first commercial product I used..  Back then they were all about quality.  I don’t think that holds true any longer. 

    I would recommend NV kibble and raw over some other foods. But I would also suggest several others instead of them and I RARELY use them myself any longer.

  • Melissaandcrew

    Lol. Glad someone else questioned this : ) I was thinking perhaps I had missed something in the NV line(something new) but the only “new” product I know of is the dry kibble mixed with the dehydrated.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Shawna –

    I’ve just recommended the Great Life based on results I had feeding it in the past. I haven’t fed it in at least two years. Also, this poster I was responding to has a large breed puppy and Great Life has some formulas with appropriate calcium levels for large breed puppies. The comments definitely make the food suspicious though. I didn’t even realize it was owned by Dr. Harvey (I’m assuming the same Dr. Harvey that makes the pre-mixes and supplements). I’m not a fan of Dr. Harvey’s. At one time I inquired about their veg-to-bowl pre-mix (asking for various nutrient levels and such) and they refused to disclose the information to me..

    I’m confused about what you said about Nature’s Variety Instinct. All of their formulas are grain free and they don’t have any puppy formulas, only all life stages…? The Nature’s Variety Prairie line has grains, but to the best of my knowledge it’s always had grains, it’s their lower priced line of foods. Prairie does have puppy formulas – but they don’t have less protein than the adult formulas. All their foods have 26% protein.

  • Toxed2loss

    Good to know! That Susan is on top of things! 🙂 It isn’t an issue for me, since I avoid all additives in my and my dogs food. I don’t eat ANY preprepared food. I haven’t even looked at snack food labels in years… But lots of our friends here might not know about it. I wouldn’t want them or their pups to suffer. :-}

  • Shawna

    Lovely!!  No, I had not read that yet..  Ughhhh….

    I avoid microwave popcorn because of the PFOA in the lining of the bag and because of, well —microwaving :)..

    Susan Thixton wrote an article on it in dog foods back in 2011 — don’t know what came of the “investigation” that instigated her article though..

  • Shawna

    I can’t edit my post so starting a new with an afterthought to my last post.

    Edit —- I still would recommend NV over many other foods but for foods in the same category as NV I now recommend Brothers..  Like Toxed, I’ve had some EXCELLENT experiences with Richard and Brothers.  Example — Richard made the claim that there was no ingredients with MSG (or free glutamic acid in his foods).  I pointed out that yeast products are sources due to processing..  He removed those products from his foods without being asked to but just because he learned the controversy over the ingredient..  This is just ONE example..

  • Toxed2loss

    Morning Shawna!
    Did you see this on Mercola this morning?
    “Researchers conducting test-tube studies revealed that diacetyl has several concerning properties for brain health. Not only can it pass through the blood-brain barrier, which is intended to help keep toxins out of your brain, but it can also cause brain proteins to misfold into the Alzheimer’s-linked form known as beta amyloid. It also inhibits mechanisms that help to naturally clear the dangerous beta amyloid from your brain.1

    It’s not known at this time whether eating diacetyl-containing foods (it’s used not only in microwave popcorn but also in other snack foods, baked goods, pet foods, some fast foods and other food products) increases your risk of Alzheimer’s, but the finding that it may contribute to brain plaques linked to Alzheimer’s at very low concentrations is concerning, to say the least.”

    Its in the article on microwave popcorn being found to contribute to Altzheimers. I figured I better share it because of the diacetyl being used in dogfood…

  • Shawna

    PS — I used to regularly recommend Nature’s Variety Instinct (and raw) too..  Until they were bought and started making questionable changes to their foods and introducing questionable foods (like “puppy” foods that are lower in protein then their regular line and have grains?)..

  • Shawna

    I used to recommend Great Life but some data came to light here on DFA back in February and I haven’t suggested Great Life since…

    Here’s were I officially withdrew my recommendations

    Here’s the info that made me withdraw my recommendation

    And here Dr. Mike confirms what Jack Jones had found

    This all doesn’t mean the food is bad in any way shape or form but it does make me question the ethics of the company.. 

  • Toxed2loss

    Hi bsell,
    I agree with InkedMarie. Not every company has had issues. I’ve reviewed a lot of the 5 star foods here and when it came down to it, all things considered I liked GL & Brothers the best. I was feed GL at the time because I have pesticide poisoning and can’t have major estrogen analogs (flax) even in my house. I was wishing Brothers didn’t have flax because of everything I’d learned about Ricard & Brothers. The quality and nutrition was far and away above everything else. Then Richard asked me why I don’t feed Brothers. I told him my medical reasons and the things I’d learned about flax, and sent him the research. He removed the flax from his fish formula. O.k., who else would do something like that?!

    So not only am I confident I’m getting the best kibble out there (I feed w/raw), I know I have the best customer support, & company integrity I’ve ever found!! Just sayin’!

  • InkedMarie

    I just wanted to say that no, not every company has it’s issues. There are dog food companies that have not had any recalls at all. Look at Earthborn, Brothers, Fromm…

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Very interesting. I haven’t fed this food for a few years (I feed raw now), but when I did my dog did excellent on it. Personally I kind of think there are negative reviews out there for any food as each dog is different and what works for one dog might not work for another. You can have the highest quality food in the world, but if the dog eating it is sensitive to one of the ingredients it’s not going to work. If, after reading those comments, you’re not comfortable feeding that food then definitely don’t – you need to be comfortable with whatever choice you make. A couple other foods off the list of foods appropriate for large breed puppies I’d recommend are Nature’s Variety Instinct (rabbit or limited ingredient turkey only) – this food is also grain-free, white potato-free and coated in freeze-dried raw. My dog did very well on Instinct. Also The Honest Kitchen. I’m not sure what your budget it (THK is a little pricey) but one of my female bloodhounds (she’ll be two in December) started out on THK before I switched her to raw at 8 months old. She ate mostly Love (beef based, grain-free, 5 stars) with some Zeal (fish based, grain-free, 5 stars) and Thrive (chicken based, 4 stars) thrown in for variety. I mixed the THK with Tripett. Love, Zeal and Thrive all have calcium levels appropriate for large breed growth.

  • bsell

    Thanks Boxers1; I’ll check them out.

  • bsell

    Hi Hound Dog Mom,  Thanks for the response!  If you have a chance, check this site:
    Maybe I’m over-researching!! 🙂

  • Boxers1
  • Boxers1

    Have you looked at Acana made by the same company that makes Orijen (Champion) . Also Horizon makes some nice foods…I used Horizon Legacy for quite a while,they have a food called Pulsar that’s worth some investigation

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi bsell –

    Personally, I think Great Life would be a wonderful food for a rottweiler puppy. The calcium levels are appropriate, it’s grain and white potato free and coated in freeze-dried raw. Back when I fed kibble I used it in my rotation and my dog did very well on it.

    Some other 4 and 5 star grain-free options appropriate for large breed puppies are here:

  • bsell

    We have a 6 mo. Rotty and we’re looking to switch up her food; however, after doing research, every company has it’s issues.  Innova bought by P&G, Orijen too high in calcium for large breed puppies, Taste of the Wild owned by Diamond with all their recalls.

    We thought we had narrowed it down to Great Life, but once again, after research, this company seems to have their issues.  On a breed specific forum, people are complaining about quality issues.

    Help!!!  What do we do!?

    The funny thing is we have a 14 year old Yorkie puppy that we bought right after we go married.  We did everything “wrong.”  We bought her from a puppy mill (before we knew what puppy mills were) and fed her whatever cheap, on sale dog food was available at the grocery store.  She is still going strong! 🙂

  • Markabes

    Great Life Smell.  We having been buying it for almost 2 years, but the latest bag smelled rancid.  We “decanted” it, but it still smelled. Called the store where we purchased it from, and they said to bring it back.  They had gotten several other complaints.  She thought it may be the new packaging but I said we had bought some with the new packaging and her answer was that it had been sitting on the shelf too long. We switched brands.

  • Lydmartin

    Something is not right wih great life latest bags…they do not smell the same…is the new packaging??? I am afraid to feed to my dog….

  • ohnoesaz

    Hi all… Can someone explain why a dehydrated meat is bad compared to a fresh meat? I thought they weren’t much different, hence why health nuts make their own beef jerky before hiking trips etc.

    I want to switch out one of my dog’s foods for Great Life, add a little more variety, but wanted to clear this up first.

  • Stephanie

    So, after pouring over the controversy below, I switched my GSMD off of Great Life Grain Free Buffalo…I didn’t like having questions about the ethics of the company. Unfortunately, nothing worked as well. In addition to having issues with grain and chicken, it appears my dog also doesn’t do very well on potato. Loads of dandruff and itching. So, we’re back on Great Life Grain Free, and he’s never looked better. Beautiful, glossy coat, firm stools, lean muscle, tons of energy. I mix in some Tripette with his evening meal, as well, and he’s absolutely thriving.

    In a nut shell, while I wish the company was better organized and had a better handle on labeling, it’s entirely possible that this food is awesome with awesome ingredients, and the small staff at Great Life simply doesn’t have a good grasp of how important specifics are to consumers. Not saying this is excusable, but it doesn’t make the food bad. After trying Wellness, Nature’s Variety, Lotus and Orijen and getting sub-par results with all of them, I’m going to go with my gut and keep feeding Great Life. It’s what works for my dog, and I can’t believe anything that makes him look and feel so great can possibly be bad.   

  • I’ve only used the buffalo and salmon recipes once on 4 pugs and didn’t notice anything off about their water consumption during that time.  They have been eating grain free for a while though and are used to that kind of food.

  • Ricki Diehl2

    Ok, thank you! I have pretty much seen people very happy with it and people very unhappy. So I was a little concerned about it but I think I will just give it a try and see how it goes. I’m wondering if some people just didn’t transition slowly enough since it is such a different type of food when comparing to a lot of other popular kibbles. Thanks again. If I do notice anything I figure I’ll just discontinue it and move on.

  • Ricki Diehl2

    I haven’t, I was considering using it but haven’t started yet. I was just wondering since other people were reporting it being an issue.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Ricki Diehl2 –

    When I fed kibble (I feed homemade raw now) I used the grain-free varieties of Great Life numerous times in my rotation and had great results. One of my favorite kibbles in fact.

  • cinnamonpuff

     Are you having any issues with the food? Excessive thirst can be kidney related.

  • Ricki Diehl2

    I recently bought a bag of the buffalo grain free for my allergy dog but now am a little concerned by reviews on their websites by people who fed great life foods. They are claiming excessive thirst among other issues. Any thoughts or recommendations?

  • InkedMarie

    baiting her foot????

  • Hagop Tavitian

    Doea any one have any broblem with TTY dog food sometime it look like she has a hard time pooping and sometime it soft

  • Hagop Tavitian

    I feed gret life fish and she is baiting her foot what do u think she should not be ok I did allagery testing the food should be ok I am thinking something is wrong

  • Rosemary Nickel

     Sony911  My dog was practically bald and chewing on every part of her body including her ears, and paws.  She also had chronic ear infections. After spending well over $2,000 for tests and medication at a traditional vet I took her to a holistic vet. 

    He  told me to take her off all medications and try a raw food diet.  Taking her off all medications actually got rid of her ear infections.  I know it sounds strange but it did. 

    It’s been a long road and she seemed to get worse before she got better (he said that would happen) but all her hair is almost completely back in and she is has more energy. 

    The biggest difference was when I started her on Great Life Buffalo and started shampooing her with TAR shampoo (CVS or Walgreens). We bathed her twice a week in the shampoo & followed the bottle’s instructions. WOW the shampoo gave her some relief instantly.  She looked better each time. 

    I don’t know which if not all of this has helped her.   However, I can say taking her off the medications didn’t make her worse but made her better & the best she has been was when we started her on Great Life and the TAR Shampoo. 

    I hope our experience can help you and your dog find relief!

  • Sony911

    I am so confused as to what to feed my babies as i read all your comments. Right now they are on Great Life Dr.E’s  limited ingredients grain and potato free buffalo as they say it’s great for allergies. Has anyone heard of this food? We aren’t sure what my oldest is allergic to but chews her feet constantly has ear infections and is always itchy. Any suggestions?

  • Sony911

      I haven’t tried the salmon but did buy the venison. my 2 cocker’s love them but my older one turned her nose up.

  • Hagop Tavirian

    My dog is eat the great life fish did anyone dog had a hard time potty

  • Addie

    I’m not sure about Great Life, but Canine Caviar, The Honest Kitchen, Nature’s Logic, and Weruva are all GMO free. I’m sure there’s more, but those are the companies I know off the top of my head. 

  • Lorenucia

    I would like to know if the papaya in this product is GMO or not, because almost all of the Hawaiian papaya has been genetically modified.  GMOs(genetically modified organisms) are poison and most dog food has them.  The plants that have been genetically modified to date include soy, corn, canola, sugarbeets, zucchini, yellow squash and Hawaiian papaya.  Honey can contain GMOs.  Conventional dairy often contains a genetically modified hormone that is harmful called rBGH.  For more info go to the Institute for Responsible Technology’s website for a non-GMO shopping list.

  • Linda Sampanes

    I just purchased a bag of Dr.Woofers grain free salmon dog biscuits . I am a little concerned about what I have read hear. Has anyone else used these treats? I feed my small dogs NutriSource.
    Many thanks

  • Johnandchristo

    Real careful, but so much fun.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Fun to play around with if your careful.

  • Johnandchristo


    Quick silver? 

  • Pattyvaughn

    Yeah, we broke an old mercury thermometer once at the vet I used to work for, and apparently mercury was a passion of his. Everything came to a stop for almost an hour that day while we all learned about mercury.

  • Johnandchristo

    Patty… is that right ? I dont dispute it I have to read up on the subject a little. At least they both heavy metals lol.

  • Pattyvaughn

    The Mad Hatter was mad because of mercury poisoning. Felting used mercury and hatters were known for going mad after a period of time.

  • Johnandchristo


    many scholars blame lead poisoning o the down fall of the Roman empire. They loved wine and the vessels from which they drank were lined with lead. Just like the mad Hatter from Alice in wonderland land. Hatters 
    went mad because hats in that era were lined with lead. thus the mad hatter. We as modern people did learn from the past, and contaminated our land with lead based gas. alas. And believe it or not all our wars.
    ammo also is made from lead. Think of all the bullets that were fired in the civil war alone. Its makes me wonder about Karma.  

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Yeah, that’s what the book said. It said that bones of animals in the US has more lead than bones of non-US animals because we have more traffic. I’m hesitant to use non-bone sources of calcium though because I feel the bone is the most natural and assimilable form for dogs and bones provide great dental benefits. I do like that the K9 natural is from new zealand (the book said australia and nz don’t have this lead problem) but it has wayy too much fat and I prefer to make my own so I can feed more variety.

  • Andrea

    Gasoline used to have lead in it. There are many areas in this country where there is still lots of lead in the ground-now you have cows eating the grass, and that is how they absorb the lead-and the lead gets built up in the bones. This is medically true. Of course it depends where the bones are from, depending if you have lead in the bones or not. It doesn’t really matter if the bones are organic or not, cows eating the grass and picking up the lead from the grounds is the issue. I believe there are many toxins in the environment we have to worry about and make conscious decisions. If you buy NewZealand lamb bones, these might be more safe, than those from around certain cities, I would think. I buy eggs directly from a farmer nearby the Oregon coast, and make my own Calcium carbonate with the egg shells. I find this a good way to supply calcium. Regarding dioxin in german eggs-there are many reports on the german search engine-it is all in german,where the amounts of toxins exceeded the limits as allowed by law because organic chickens are picking up the toxins from the ground-again this happened in polluted very industrial parts of Germany-again I would be concerned where the meats, eggs, bones etc. are from and possibly buy directly from the farmers  in less polluted areas.
    I also started to feed my dog K9natural raw from NewZealand, it is very healthy, but only one of my dogs like it. 

  • Hound Dog Mom

    The copy I have is from 2005. I agree about the book having some great sections, I liked the majority of the book but I could not get over how horrible the diet section was. I avoid bone meal but what worried me was in the book he made it sound like all bones contains high levels of lead – even fresh. I agree about not adding the non-meat protein boosters at my dogs’ expense…the book did kind of inspire me to want to start using non-meat protein boosters for myself though.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    thanks toxed 🙂

  • doggonefedup

    This bears repeating ! If I may quote Toxed…..
    “Here’s the grim reality. We’ve callously polluted so much of our food
    chain, we’re verging on not being able to recover. We’ve kind of treated
    our food chain the same way we’ve treated the Social Security System
    and the National Debt. We’ve bankrupted it by wringing every ounce of
    borrowed profit out of it to assuage the greed of specific individuals,
    at the expense of future generations…. Only the time to pay the piper
    is shortly coming due.”

  • Shawna

    You stay right up there on that soap box girl!!!!

    Nice post!!!

  • Shawna

    Hi Hounddogmom 🙂

    Bone meal that is sourced for human consumption is tested for lead, aluminum etc.  They may not be free of lead but will have low levels of heavy metals.. 

    Dr. Becker, Beth Taylor and Steve Brown feel that if we don’t supply bone to our pouches they will be deficient, over all, in phosphorus as compared to ancestral diet.  Makes sense..

    When Pitcairn wrote his book they probably weren’t yet testing..  I’m with you however, the diet section of the book is pretty worthless.  But I do like the other sections.  I actually support Pitcairns concerns about the environment (a reason he recommends adding protein boosters and oats) but not at the expense of MY dog..  Someone else can follow his diet if they want…  I’ll try to help the environment in other ways :)..

    The environmental working group does warn that bone meal found in kibble is a source of fluoride…